Success: Obedience vs Innovation

The latest issue of the Utne Reader contains a well written article on the positive and educational effects of playing video games, Playing with Our Heads. The author, Suellentrop, spends most of the article summarizing much of the positive video game research out there and how gaming is mentally stimulating and beneficial. It's a good overview of some of the past topics covered here on like the work of Johnson and Gee. Overall the article is very positive and helps support the statements of myself and others, that games (even violent games) have mental and educational value.

Suellentrop cites Paul Trachtman, from the Smithsonian magazine, who encourages non-gamers to "ignore the dubious content, the "surface or the imagery or the story line." Underneath that layer, as Trachtman states, is a medium that is "a test of your facility for understanding the logic design that the programmer wrote into the game." The value of games is not about the atmosphere, violent or not, that players exist in. The value is in the analysis, critical thinking and problem solving that games require in order to be successful.

Suellentrop supports this point by stating, "Games, in short, are teachers. And electronic games are uniquely suited to training individuals how to navigate our modern information society."

Read: Information Literacy Skills.

note: this post was written on Wednesday, but due to meetings and a conference at work it is posted a day later.